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Virgin Galactic VSS Unity (updates)

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DocM    16,433

MOJAVE, Calif. (Virgin Galactic PR) — Richard Branson joined Virgin Galactic and The Spaceship Company teams this morning, on the Mojave Air and Space Port flight line, to witness VSS Unity’s second successful, supersonic, rocket powered test flight.

 

“It was great to see our beautiful spaceship back in the air and to share the moment with the talented team who are taking us, step by step, to space” Branson said. “Seeing Unity soar upwards at supersonic speeds is inspiring and absolutely breathtaking. We are getting ever closer to realizing our goals. Congratulations to the whole team!”

 

The focus of today’s flight was to expand our understanding of the spaceship’s supersonic handling characteristics and control system’s performance with vehicle parameters that were closer to the ultimate commercial configuration. This involved shifting the vehicle’s center of gravity rearward via the addition of passenger seats and related equipment. The rocket motor burned for the planned 31 seconds and propelled Unity to a speed of Mach 1.9 and an altitude of 114,500 ft. As will be the case for future commercial flights, Unity’s unique re-entry feathering system was deployed for the initial descent before the final glide home to a smooth runway landing.

 

Once in commercial service, Virgin Galactic’s spaceships are designed to be turned around and flown at a higher frequency than has traditionally been the case for human spaceflight. The flight today brought that vision a little closer, coming less than two months after Unity’s first rocket powered flight. Great credit goes to the engineering and maintenance teams for working through the first flight’s data diligently and efficiently before preparing Unity again for flight.

 

Richard Branson was on the runway tarmac to greet this flight’s VSS Unity pilots Dave Mackay and Mark “Forger” Stucky. In addition to the pilots of VSS Unity, Branson recognized CJ Sturckow and Nicola Pecile, the pilots of the carrier aircraft, VMS Eve.

 

“Today we saw VSS Unity in her natural environment, flying fast under rocket power and with a nose pointing firmly towards the black sky of space” he said. “The pathway that Unity is forging is one that many thousands of us will take over time, and will help share a perspective that is crucial to solving some of humanity’s toughest challenges on planet Earth.”

 

The teams will now conduct flight data review for this flight and continue planning preparations for the next flight.

 

While in Mojave, Richard Branson also toured the facilities of The Spaceship Company (TSC), Virgin’s Galactic sister company. TSC is focused on manufacturing next generation aerospace vehicles, with a primary focus on new spaceships for Virgin Galactic’s future fleet. Branson viewed the next two spaceships on the TSC’s manufacturing line, as well as the production facilities for TSC’s spaceship rocket motors.

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DocM    16,433

 

 

Edited by DocM
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DocM    16,433

Space News...

 

Quote


WASHINGTON  Virgin Galactics second SpaceShipTwo set new speed and altitude records on its third powered test flight July 26, bringing the suborbital vehicle one step closer to reaching space.

The vehicle, named VSS Unity, separated from its WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft at approximately 12:45 p.m. Eastern, an hour after taking off from Mojave Air and Space Port in California. The spaceplanes hybrid rocket motor ignited for a 42-second burn, sending it into the upper atmosphere before gliding back to a runway landing in Mojave.

The engine burn, the longest to date during the SpaceShipTwo test program, propelled the vehicle to new speed and altitude records. It flew at a top speed of Mach 2.47 during ascent and Mach 1.7 during reentry, and achieved a peak altitude of 52 kilometers during the flight.

"It's higher and faster than weve gone before. Another good incremental step," George Whitesides, chief executive of Virgin Galactic, said in a phone interview after the flight.
>

 

 

Showing the wings feather maneuver against a black sky... 

 

 

 

Edited by DocM

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DocM    16,433

SpaceShipTwo to fly from Italy...

 

>


Sir Richard Branson, Virgin Group founder, said "From the Renaissance to modern space science, Italy has always been a natural home to great innovators and breakthrough ideas which have shaped the human experience. I believe Italy's vision which has led to this collaboration with our Virgin space companies, will provide a real impetus as we strive to open space for the benefit of life on Earth. This partnership could see Virgin Galactic launch the first person in history into space from Italian soil - and in fact from any European territory. Together, we will help to expand opportunities for science, industry and the millions of people who dream of experiencing space for themselves."

In September 2016 Altec – a public-private company owned by the Italian Space Agency and Thales Alenia Space – signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Virgin Galactic. In August 2017 the U.S. Department of State approved a Technical Assistance Agreement for the development of a plan for ultimate construction of an Italian spaceport, that will provide the infrastructure for future Virgin Galactic suborbital flights. Virgin Galactic’s operational headquarters remains at Spaceport America in New Mexico, the world’s first purpose built commercial spaceport.

Earlier this year, following in-depth analysis of potential locations, the Italian aviation authority ENAC designated the Taranto-Grottaglie Airport as the future home for horizontally-launched spaceflights in Italy.

Sitael, the largest privately-owned space company in Italy with headquarters in Puglia region, is partnering with Altec and Virgin Galactic in order to define the framework that will lead the spaceflight operations from Grottaglie Spaceport.
>

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DocM    16,433

Full video

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

This is neat...old and new....

 

Quote

Our Flight Simulator Engineer captured VMS Eve taking off this morning while coming in from landing his 1942 Stearman Biplane. Only in #Mojave! Today was flight 257 for VMS Eve and another day of great flying.

 

 

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VMS Eve took off to an amazing Mojave sunrise to complete flight number 255 and has landed from fight 256 this afternoon for a total of 5 hours in the air. VMS Eve is a carbon composite vehicle with a dual fuselage design and serves as the mothership to VSS Unity.

 

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DocM    16,433

SS2 Unity will attempt to break 50mi/~80km this week, the USAF/NASA qualification for astronaut wings.

 

Space News....

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Beittil    571

Yes, Karman line or GTFO imho ;)

 

 

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DocM    16,433
2 hours ago, Beittil said:

Yes, Karman line or GTFO imho ;)

 

Except that international groups* are likely to redefine the Karman line down to 80km/49.71 miles in 2019.

 

*  International Astronautical Federation 

Fédération Aéronautique Internationale (air sports) 

 

 

Quote
 

 

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Beittil    571

Well, after having seen this tweet I am gonna go change my vote to 'Must reach orbit' 😛

 

Touting this thing as America's restoration of being able to fly humans into space again, ow my... 

 

 

 

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DocM    16,433

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

It's been pretty quiet around here...so I'll come in with my chainsaw and cause havoc...

 

First off...congratulations on the flight.

 

 

There has been some flack over this...rightly so...but it's not their fault...this was coming for a long time and no one wanted to do anything about it.

 

//

Disclaimer...I am a veteran, Air Force, and the 80 km barrier is "bull cookies"   it was half a century ago and still is today.

 

Studies have been done by too many to count over the years. These studies have been using certain attributes generally to further a cause or ignore other causes.

 

The situation was a powder keg in the making once "new space" ventures entered the arena....rapid development has shown the weakness of the goal posts.

 

To put it simply, 80 km was chosen by the Air Force due to it being the edge for powered vehicles with high velocity and minimal flight controls. At 100+ km...it's velocity only with controls such as thrusters.

 

Balloons have gone past 80 km. I feel that the 100 km line is also too low. There needs to be a point where a vessel requires it to be a spacecraft with spacecraft controls and orbital EDL.

 

100 km is close but a bump up would ensure actual orbital boosters and/or spacecraft with associated controls were in play. We can't even use the term orbit, since an orbit is a controlled free fall, which can happen at any altitude, it just requires more energy the lower the altitude.

 

This was more than a co-incidence that it has reared it's ugly head now...and probably too late...they will go with the commercial "participation trophy level" of 80 km because it sells tickets and achievements. Many will disagree...and frankly I couldn't care less what others think...make the level hard because only dedicated spacecraft should be involved in the "astronaut" terminology.

 

// end of rant

 

As of today...get your flight suit and astronaut rating for the sum of $xxx at company yyy and view the earth for zzz minutes. 😞

 

 

 

 

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DocM    16,433

 

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Beittil    571

I must say that whole victory roll with the darn thing was utterly reckless. I mean 4 years ago they lost a pilot due to issues with this thing and now they are doing stunt tricks with it? Ugh...

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flyingskippy    165
3 hours ago, Beittil said:

I must say that whole victory roll with the darn thing was utterly reckless. I mean 4 years ago they lost a pilot due to issues with this thing and now they are doing stunt tricks with it? Ugh...

Accident wasn't from the pilots doing stunts though. If the thing can't handle a half a G roll then they would of had airframe problems earlier on.

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Lots of pilots do rolls. This one was gentle and precise. No problem. The Space Shuttle could probably do them too.

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DocM    16,433

https://spacenews.com/branson-looks-ahead-to-beginning-commercial-spaceshiptwo-flights/

 


Branson looks ahead to beginning commercial SpaceShipTwo flights

MOJAVE, Calif.  With a first flight to the edge of space under the companys belt, Virgin Galactic founder Richard Branson believes commercial flights of SpaceShipTwo could begin some time next year.
>
The company plans to grow the fleet of vehicles supporting commercial operations. Besides VSS Unity, two more SpaceShipTwo vehicles are currently under construction, with the first of them expected to be completed in about a year. Branson said the company would "soon" start building two more SpaceShipTwo vehicles as well as a second WhiteKnightTwo carrier aircraft.

Virgin Galactic has about 700 customers who have either paid the full price of a ticket or a deposit. "We stopped for the last four years taking new reservations," he said, but will start taking reservations again soon.
>

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

 

 

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Draggendrop    5,747

Virgin Galactic

Published on Dec 17, 2018

SUBSCRIBE 43K

After watching VSS Unity, the first Spaceship built for regular passenger service soar into Space, Richard pens a heartfelt letter to his grandchildren.

 

Virgin Galactic's SpaceShipTwo First Spaceflight

video is 5:11 minutes

 

this is a must see...

 

 

 

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Unobscured Vision    2,657

Fantastic video! Thanks @Draggendrop!

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DocM    16,433

 

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